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Crittle v. Ezaz

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 8, 2013

AJAMU CRITTLE, XXXXX-XXX, Plaintiff(s),
v.
BELEN EZAZ, M.D., et al., Defendant(s)

ORDER OF SERVICE

CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a federal prisoner at the United States Penitentiary in Lompoc, California (USP - Lompoc), has filed a pro se First Amended Complaint (FAC) under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents , 403 U.S. 388 (1971), alleging that, while he was a pretrial detainee at the Federal Detention Center in Dublin, California (FDC - Dublin), prison medical staff delayed providing him with adequate medical care for a hand and wrist injury he sustained after falling off his bunk bed.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id . § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

To state a claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents , 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and its progeny, plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a federal actor. See Van Strum v. Lawn , 940 F.2d 406, 409 (9th Cir. 1991) (42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens actions are identical save for replacement of state actor under § 1983 by federal actor under Bivens).

B. Legal Claims

Plaintiff alleges that medical staff at FDC - Dublin, which is part of the larger Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California (FCI - Dublin), delayed for months providing him with adequate medical care for a hand and wrist injury despite his repeated pleas for help from both medical staff and from other prison officials. Plaintiff alleges that the delay in getting adequate medical care caused irreparable damage to his hand and wrist, and subjected him to constant and excruciating pain.

Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976).[1] A "serious medical need" exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." McGuckin v. Smith , 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Estelle , 429 U.S. at 104), overruled in part on other grounds by WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller , 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). A prison official is "deliberately indifferent" if he knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. Farmer v. Brennan , 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).[2]

Liberally construed, plaintiff's allegations state a cognizable § 1983 claim for damages for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against the named FCI - Dublin defendants - Belen Ezaz, Randy Tews, Ms. Basile, A. W. Syed, V. Bautista and Raul Cespedes - and will be ordered served on them. See McGuckin , 974 F.2d at 1062 (deliberate indifference may appear when prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or it may be shown in the way in which prison officials provide medical care).[3]

The instant action will be limited to plaintiff's claim for damages against named FCI - Dublin defendants. To whatever extent plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form of specific medical care at USP - Lompoc, plaintiff must seek such relief by filing a separate action in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in whose venue USP - Lompoc (Santa Barbara County) lies. See 28 U.S.C. § 84(c)(2).

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons and for good cause shown,

1. The clerk shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, copies of the FAC (docket #19) in this matter, all attachments thereto, and copies of this order on the named defendants at FCI - Dublin. The clerk also shall serve a copy of the summons and FAC on defendants' counsel, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, and on the Attorney ...


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